“They spoke against God and against Moses, and said, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!’ Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.”
– Numbers 21:5-7
I’m always fascinated when I read the account of the Israelites and their journey to the Promised Land, because no matter how many times God showed them His glory, they seemed to forget and go back to complaining. Even though they were in the middle of one of the greatest epochs of all time historically speaking, they refused to glean strength and endurance from the divine manifestations that happened in their midst. They were dominated by their flesh, and every now and then, the Lord reached a breaking point. In one account, when the people grumbled and spoke out against Him, He allowed poisonous snakes to come into their midst and bite them. Whether He was responsible for sending these creepy crawlers or if He simply withdrew His protection, we don’t know, but thankfully, this turn of events was enough to get the Israelites’ attention. Once they came to their senses and admitted that they had sinned, Moses stood in the gap for them and prayed for mercy. Ever patient and full of kindness, the Lord once more provided a means of safety. Though it was a rather strange directive, He told Moses to make a serpent out of bronze and place it on a pole. Then, whenever someone was bitten by a snake, they could look at it and be saved. A symbol of divine healing, this Old Testament account actually foreshadows the triumph of Jesus Christ. Just as the man-made serpent was lifted up on a pole, the Son of Man was lifted up on a cross, and all who look to Him for help are saved. Though the forces of evil still bite, especially when we give Satan a foothold through grumbling and ingratitude, the King of Glory has neutralized his venom so he cannot destroy us.
My friend, Jesus has granted you the power to overcome evil with good! While the devil’s snakes may slither around you, you give them less bait when you agree with the God who speaks faith and hope over your life. You are covered by the conquering blood of Christ, and this means you can stand firm in the presence of darkness and refuse to give up or complain. As you keep your eyes fixed on the Author of your journey, He will transform you from glory to glory and guide you safely to spiritual victory!
Jesus, help me to focus on your power whenever I’m oppressed by the devil, and keep my lips from grumbling so I don’t give him a foothold.
The next time you’re tempted to grumble or complain, how might you focus on God’s power instead of your problem?
If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.